On location: Toby Witte VP GTR Mast-Jägermeister on the meaning of 9556

By Faye Bartle |

Mast-Jägermeister 9556 Nights of Exploration

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Jägermeister has launched its first aged luxury liqueur into travel retail, named 9556 Nights of Exploration, and TRBusiness was on location at the company’s headquarters in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, last week to find out more.

At the grand launch event on 3 November, Toby Witte, Vice-President Global Travel Retail, told TRBusiness: “We are putting the focus on Europe where we have a big loyal customer following as well as in APAC territory, India and Singapore where we see a great momentum for our brand.

“The big challenge in global travel retail is to explain to the customer the meaning of 9556. We have a whole consumer engagement campaign around it to cover why it is special, its key aspects – its unique mix of 56 herbs and spices, the limited number of bottles available and its competitive price as a super-premium liqueur.

More than 26 years – that’s 9556 nights – in the making

When asked about the new expression’s distinctive name, Sven Schindler, Head of Global Brand & Digital Transformation, explained: “The reason why we chose the name is quite simple. As a company, we are focused on the idea of having the best nights of your life today and tomorrow and that’s why we wanted to tie in with that with the name.

“Instead of putting the number of years on the bottle or packaging, we decided to go for the number of nights it took to perfect it.”

Mast-Jägermeister 9556 Nights of Exploration

Dr. Berndt Finke, VP Products & Quality at Mast-Jägermeister showcases the new herbal liqueur.

Dr. Berndt Finke, Vice President Products & Quality at family-owned Mast-Jägermeister SE offered a deeper insight into how the new limited-edition prestige expression was created.

“More than 20 years were necessary for the evolution of this unique herbal liqueur. This product is the result of a random, not planned, herbal experiment. This kind of very limited product has never existed before.”

Dr. Günther Findel, the son-in-law of Jägermeister inventor Curt Mast, wanted to discover how the Jägermeister base spirit would develop when aged over time so a single oak cask was selected for the experiment.

A total of 26 years passed before its flavour was deemed to be of the right quality for bottling, years after Dr. Findel’s death.

The result is bottled at a higher ABV of 40% than standard 35% ABV Jägermeister.

The quantities are limited to 2,500 hand-numbered bottles – 1,000 of which are allocated to travel retail.

Mast-Jägermeister 9556 Nights of Exploration

A special design and packaging has been developed for the new product, which is named after the number of nights it took to evolve.

At a recommended retail price of €560 for a 70cl bottle, the complex flavour profile of 9556 Nights of Exploration retains Jägermeister’s traditional herbal notes, with extra layers of caramel, vanilla and sweet fruit flavours due to the lengthy oak ageing.

The liqueur’s complex production process takes 365 days and features several distinct steps: maceration of the 56 herbs and spices, refinement of the base material, storage in oak barrels, dosage and filtration, and finally filling the brand’s distinctive green bottles.

A special design and packaging has been developed for the product, which comes in a clear rather than the standard Jägermeister’s familiar green glass bottle.

The back label is printed in Jägermeister’s signature orange. As the product is drunk, the details of the liqueur’s unusual creation is revealed, printed on the inside of the label. It’s packaged in a shock-resistant wooden gift box.

Supporting the rollout in travel retail

9556 Nights of Exploration will be available in 15 domestic markets from 11 November 2023 and at selected airports worldwide, including Frankfurt, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Singapore, South Korea, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Sydney and Johannesburg, among others.

An exclusive presentation pack has been developed for travel retail and channel-specific support for the launch will include digital and social media advertising and in-store displays.

A teaser campaign for members of German travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann’s customer loyalty programme, Heinemann & Me, has already started.

Mast-Jägermeister 9556 Nights of Exploration

Ian Hill with Mast-Jägermeister’s Vice-President Global Travel Retail Toby Witte.

“We are putting the focus on Europe where we have a big loyal customer following as well as in APAC territory, India and Singapore where we see a great momentum for our brand,” said Witte.

“9556 Nights of Exploration is a very different product to the three accessibly priced expressions currently available in travel retail (Jägermeister, the super-premium Jägermeister Manifest and the coffee-flavoured Jägermeister Cold Brew).

He added: “We really only started in GTR two years ago and our greatest challenge is to look at the international landscape and pick up territories like APAC where there is huge growth potential.

“Currently GTR is the seventh biggest market in Jägermeister and we would like to achieve fourth or fifth position in the coming years.”

Launched in 1935 by Curt Mast, Jägermeister is the world’s best-selling herbal liqueur, sold in over 150 countries worldwide and selling 9.4m cases in 2022.

According to the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, Jägermeister is the 11th best-selling spirit in travel retail by volume.

Reporting by Ian Hill.

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